Promising to “turn a page” in the sport of adventure racing — including the creation of a new “National Championship” race in 2010 — Checkpoint Zero LLC, a sports-marketing company based in Greenville, S.C., has launched Checkpoint Tracker (www.checkpointtracker.com). The program includes a new national ranking system for teams plus a nationwide adventure-racing series starting in 2010.
The new “National Championship” race, to be held in autumn 2010, will offer a $10,000 cash prize purse, according to Paul Angell, president of Checkpoint Zero LLC.
Many American adventure races currently procure support, insurance and sanctioning from the United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA), an Austin, Texas, company. The USARA keeps a national ranking system and holds the annual USARA Adventure Race National Championship, which is this week (October 22 – 24) in Pilot Point, Texas.
With Checkpoint Tracker, Angell said his company would offer an alternative to USARA rankings and its national championship race.
Angell said many racers see a need for a new type of national ranking system for the sport. “USARA’s points system is cumulative,” he said. “Teams can attend as many events as they want and roll up all the points, making it more about which teams race the most as opposed to which are actually the best racers over time.” With the Checkpoint Tracker ranking system, Angell said teams can attend as many events as they like, but they can only keep their five best results toward the national standings.
The Checkpoint Tracker National Championship race will be scheduled within weeks of the 2010 USARA Adventure Race National Championship. Adventure racers will basically have to choose which “national championship” event to attend and validate.
“Adventure racing remains a balkanized, niche sport,” Angell said. “High-profile events like Eco Challenge and Primal Quest have succeeded in vaulting the sport into the limelight, but they failed to deliver a sustainable foundation on which to grow the sport at the grassroots and amateur level.”
Angell touts Checkpoint Tracker as providing a framework for a “rebirth” of the sport.
Beginning this week, adventure racers in the United States can register at www.checkpointtracker.com to participate in the series’ 2010 adventure racing season, which begins on January 16th at the North Georgia Adventure Race in Chatsworth, Ga. Major adventure racing organizers including Gravity Play, Odyssey Adventure Racing, Bonk Hard Racing, Wild Adventure, and Too Cool Racing have signed on to be a part of the Checkpoint Tracker race series.
The Checkpoint Tracker web site is free. Teams can create profiles that include a roster of team members and the team’s racing schedule. There will be features on the site like live tracking via GPS and interactive maps during races.
Unlike USARA, Checkpoint Tracker will not offer insurance for race organizers. But Angell said his company is working with a third-party provider that has formed a non-profit organization to offer insurance along with other supporting services for racers in 2010.
Angell said the sport of adventure racing is in need of new leadership and a clearer public image. “With Checkpoint Tracker, we want to be the Ironman brand for adventure racing,” he said.